Art, oil painting, Painting, Sketching

When Life serves you lemons … paint them

A couple more small oil studies here. The first one was done a little while ago and I’m a little concerned that the yellow colors are taking so long to dry. I use Gamblin oil colors and the yellow in this one is mostly Indian Yellow. I expect some paints to dry more slowly than others but it’s been weeks and it’s still not dry to the touch.Lemon and Power Drill

5 x 7 inches oil on gessoed paper

I used the limited palette I mentioned before for the sketch above (indian yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue and white) I think I may have added a little pthalo green as well here and there.

At the suggestion of landscape painter Elio Camacho, who was kind enough to visit and make some very instructive comments, I did the painting below using the palette he suggested (yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, viridian, white and mars black.

Lemon in a Glass

6 x 4.5 inches on board

It was very interesting to paint with no Blue. (See Elio’s comment on my previous post for more details on how this works) To make things more difficult, I happened to choose a glass that had a beautiful blue edge at the top. It was pretty funny trying to paint that. There was no way I could match the colors I was seeing with the palette I had so I was forced to stick to painting the values and color relationships. I’m not sure Elio meant for me to try this with a still life like this but it was a fun experiment and I’ll play with it some more. I did cheat right at the end and used a little bit of a tint of prussian blue on the rim of the glass. Sorry, Elio.

14 thoughts on “When Life serves you lemons … paint them”

  1. Indian yellow is like that, an absolute bear for drying. Boy, those warm greys are luscious, and in the drill painting the warm/black and the cool/black of the bowl you can see clearly. great studies!


  2. Bill,
    Sorry it took so long. I had to ship some paintings to Tennessee for a show by Monday and had hoped to finish sooner.
    Ok, here are some quick sketches to show the effect.
    The first file is a simple cloud formation with a “blue effect” sky.
    The third painting is the same “blue” color on top a warm ground to show the effect the cool has next to a warm.
    The second is again the “same” blue effect but within a sunset composition. You can see the beautiful lavender color that is created when the alizarin pinks blend with the sky.
    Obviously, you will not be able to paint every composition with this pallet. When I read your post about your difficulty mixing a cool dark I thought this would help. Because the problem may not be the dark you are mixing but the relationship to the colors around it. How blue is this compared to this pink? How warm is this compared to this cool? How much darker is this then that?
    I learned so much during the year I struggled with this pallet.
    Happy painting.


  3. Bill,
    BTW…This is a good start. Don’t be frustrated, I took this pallet to paint with a group in Carmel Valley. Upon my arrival, the group found a beautiful location covered in wild “lupins”. I nearly killed myself.
    You should also know you have a very sensitive eye for color. I could instantly tell looking at your oil sketches. Many artists hard as they might don’t have that sensitivity and can’t see those color so they end up faking and pushing the color too far and losing the harmony.


  4. Thanks for your complimentary comments, suburbanlife. I also used very little medium on this painting. I usually use Gamblin’s Galkyd Lite which really speeds drying time. Another lesson learned.


  5. Great work Bill. You’ve handled the palette wonderfully and sensitively and they are very nice and clear, lovely variations…Great studies!


  6. Elio,

    I see what you mean about the ‘blue effect’ from your examples. In fact, I surprised myself last night while working on a little study and looked at my palette to see a color I had mixed earlier suddenly look blue after mixing several other colors.

    I think another benefit for me particularly with this exercise is that I tend to try to match the colors I see in life rather than focus on what’s happening in the painting. Since I can’t possibly match a lot of colors in life using this palette, it helps me to let go of that tendency and concentrate on the composition of the painting.

    I really appreciate your generous input, Elio. I look forward to visiting your blog once you’ve got that going.

    Cheers – Bill


  7. Hi Sharon,

    It’s good to see a fellow Oregonian. Thanks for the compliments and also for the link.


  8. Bill, what I admire your paintings are that you use a lot of different colors to paint one object and at the
    end the object is so alive and beautiful….each color you used on the object has its perfect place and
    harmonizing with other colors, so, your paintings are far from mere collections of colors. So as the backgroud you create. You put striking vivid colors for the background sometimes, but they wonderfully harmonize with the
    main objects. I wish I could see those beautiful colors in the objects like you do. Thank you so much for sharing your passion with me.


  9. I’m drawn to your painting studies of everyday objects. The drill in this post is luscious, alive with the energy of the hand that held it. I like the faucet and suitcase in a later post, too. I am adding you to our blogroll. Looking forward to continuing to view your sketch books and your work.


  10. Thanks QuoinMonkey. I’ve really enjoyed painting that drill. I have a couple more I may post soon.
    I appreciate your linking to me.


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